51

Why is There a Crisis in the Confessional?

pope_confession_OsservatoreIn my last column, we began covering the sacrament of confession by stating that modern Catholicism suffers from a crisis of the confessional.  Here on this site, on social media and in emails, readers have shared their thoughts with me on why this is so.  According to the wisdom of the crowds, the biggest problem stems from priests who do not emphasize the sacrament enough.  Even worse, some actively discourage the celebration of the sacrament.  One cannot deny that there is a lot of truth to this statement.  True as it is, I do not find it sufficient.

There are roughly 76 million Catholics here in the United States.  If we were able to convince even five percent of Catholics here to go to confession, 3,800,000 souls would repent of their sins and quite possibly wind up in heaven because of our efforts.  I am of the opinion that Catholics need to consider anew the nature of repentance in order to truly appreciate this sacrament.  In doing so, we may also see why so few Catholics frequent this sacrament.

When we call people to repentance, what exactly are we calling them to? I fear that repentance is watered down these days.  To many, repentance simply means saying that we are sorry.  While sorrow is certainly part of repentance, we need to acknowledge that there is so much more behind it!  In repentance, we are reversing the mistake of our first parents in Adam and Eve.

As everyone is aware, Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, and in doing so flagrantly disobeyed God.  This part of the story is familiar to everyone.  Yet I would like to focus on what happens after the sin.    Adam and Eve go into hiding out of shame and fear.  Eventually, God finds Adam and confronts him about his sin.  At this point, Adam has a opportunity to repent.  He knows he has done wrong, and one can reasonably surmise that he is sorry for what he has done.  Sometimes one wonders what salvation history would have looked like had Adam immediately repented.

Sadly, this remains a hypothetical.  We know that instead, Adam immediately blamed Eve for his sin.  (Genesis 3:12)  He would’ve been fine, yet of course the woman, that vile temptress, had to go and seduce him away from the truth.  In turn, Eve blamed the serpent for giving her those cunning words and leading her astray.  God warned both Adam and Eve personally, and both chose to blame someone else for their faults.  Ever since that dreadful day, mankind has become an expert at passing the buck.  Everything is always the fault of everyone else, and we do not take responsibility for anything.

When we repent of our sins, we have the opportunity to change the predictable course of human history.   We also have a chance to be set free.  While there will always be consequences of our sins, our repentance signals to God and ourselves that our sins do not control us.  We aren’t just saying that we are sorry for screwing up; when repentance is treated this way, it is no wonder people don’t go to confession.

Nobody wants to go over and over again doing nothing but telling a priest behind a screen how rotten they are.  We should instead be going to the confessional to proclaim that we desire to be who God made us to be.  Yet if we are going to get there, we need to be real with ourselves in admitting where we fell short.  Most importantly, we are man/woman enough to admit we fell short, and desire to do better.  We go to confession because God’s grace in that sacrament makes it possible to be who God created us to be.  When we have that mindset, the priest assures us that God has forgiven us of our sins.  How do we know?  Because God works through the Church.

I think this is why Christ’s first message was not to love one another, as important as that is.  His message wasn’t to adopt a certain form of Judaism, as important as adhering to revealed doctrine is.  Christ’s Inaugural message was to repent.  (Matthew 4:17)  Something magnificent was about to happen in your life.  The Kingdom of God is preparing to make its abode in the castle of your heart.  Yet if you are still stuck on your old ways and on blaming others, you’ll miss it.  You will remain just like Adam, who in his selfishness failed to obtain what he was called by God to attain.  Only through rejecting our former ways and affirming Christ’s ways can we truly be what we were called to be.

I think if we presented repentance in this fashion, we might get at least a few more to the confessional.

 


  • mally el

    In the Prodigal Son we learn that the son’s act of turning
    away from the father destroyed the loving bond that had existed between them. The
    son’s repentance at a later stage allowed the father’s forgiveness and
    acceptance of the young man to re-establish the bond of love. The son did not enumerate
    his wrongdoings. He was not even asked to do so by his forgiving father. All
    that mattered was the eagerness to be together with no strings attached and no
    obstacles to the friendship. This is what reconciliation is all about.
    I was told that a few years ago a woman confessed that she
    had missed Sunday Mass. The priest withheld absolution telling her that she had
    to go to Mass the next Sunday and then to return for absolution. I do not
    believe that a priest has any right to retain a person’s sin. The Church can,
    in effect, retain or forgive sin when it binds or loosens. Moses, the old
    lawgiver, allowed divorce because of the hardness in men’s heart. So, though it
    was not in accordance with God’s plan, for those people divorce was not deemed
    a sin. If our Church was to allow abortion – which I cannot see happening –
    then that decision would be acknowledged in heaven.

    I would like to suggest the following.
    I thoroughly examine my conscience to see where I have been
    negligent or disobedient in body, mind and spirit. I then go to a priest and
    seek forgiveness for my sinfulness for which I am sorry.
    The priest then asks:
    Have you examined your conscience and are you truly sorry
    for your sins?
    Do you accept Jesus as your Lord and Redeemer and all his
    teachings?
    Do you believe in the Holy Catholic Church and its
    teachings?
    Do you seek reconciliation with God – the Father, the Son
    and the Holy Spirit?
    Before I give you absolution for your sins I must tell you
    that any crime committed should be dealt with appropriately,
    I now (he then concludes as normal)

    What is the advantage? More people will reap the blessings coming
    from this sacramental experience. No police probe as no sin is named.

    • ColdStanding

      This is the enumeration of sins: “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ Count them with me: #1 “I have sinned against heaven”; #2 “…and against you.” Total: 2. I count, enumerate, find the total of, two sins. Enumeration.

      For goodness sakes! Everybody is always with the Waa, waa, waa, its too hard. I’m embarrassed. Waa, waa, waa. Can’t it be made easier? You can’t possibly expect me to do that? Don’t you have a cheaper way I can get forgiveness?

      No, no, and no. You must go and open your self up and put on display the stinking, disgusting, embarrassing mess of an interior life that you have. You will have to do so repeatedly. That means often. That mean frequently. You should be paying closer attention over the course of the day/week/month to your very frequent tendency to sin. You must admit you sins in the confessional because there is a very wide spread habit of praying with the lips and not the heart. Most people understand what lying to another person is, Jesus through His Church gives us this little aid to our conscience to help us in overcoming our tendency to lie to Him.

      Stop being a weakling! Stop being a pawn of the Devil! Be a strong Catholic! This is spiritual combat. Get down on your knees and confess your rotten sins. Ask for God’s infinite mercy in the court of Christ the King, and make an attempt to amend your evil ways. And of course, pray, pray, pray.

      I’m so sick and tired of easy religion.

      • Kevin Tierney

        To be honest, I think this is precisely the wrong way to go about promoting the sacrament of confession.
        I don’t like “easy religion” as much as anyone else, but there’s nothing about the liberating nature of confession. nothing positive about it. The issue isn’t whether or not it is “easy” or “hard.” instead it is what is productive for the soul, and what isn’t. Sometimes it comes easy, sometimes it only comes through great struggle.

        • ColdStanding

          People need discipline if they are to be disciples. It is work to be a disciple. Hard and unpleasant work. I do not not need glitzy feel good boosterism to get me to go to confession. I naturally desire it as a result of my meditation upon the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I want to kneel and weep for the wrongs I have done and to beg God’s mercy, but it is all “reconciliation”, a word that smacks of euphemism.

          No. Enough with niceness.

          • Then with all due respect, since you already do everything like you are supposed to do, this kinda stuff isn’t for you. The question is, how do you get people to go to confession more? And if you constantly tell them how much they suck and how weak they are, I’m not an expert, I’m just a 30 year old traditionalist. Yet I’m going to wager that’s gonna fail.

          • ColdStanding

            Kevin, I didn’t just pull this stuff out of a hat. I learnt it, with all my peculiar faults and the faults that come with being an autodidact, from reading traditional authors. I am a revert to the faith and, therefore, a revert to participating in the sacrament of confession. I am an example of someone taking up again the the participation in the sacrament of confession. A case study, as it were, for your edification. I left because the pastoralist (let’s all be nice) approach to the practice of the Roman Catholic faith that I was raised in fostered the impression that there was no need to actually practice the faith; that the practical aspects of the faith were optional extras. Oh, and of course, my sins went unconfessed and I was many years in a state of mortal sin. Back in the day they’d call me a pawn of the Devil. (Light bulb on: Yes! I have been saved, praise be to God!)

            The act of confession only makes sense as a result of inner work and consideration. I propose to you that you can not get an increase in confessions by focusing upon the confessional. The confessional is the end result of the process, continual process, of conversion. Our Churches need to be seen in at least three senses: sacrificial altar, court of Christ the King, and school of God as the teacher of Mankind. Confession as act of contrition is the desire that arises out of our being educated about the nature, history, and desires of God for His creation, especially how He loves us and desires our return, which (should) leads us to an understanding of how we have broken with His eternal Kingship by breaking His law and violating His will in sinning. It is to be hoped that we realize, as disciples of Christ, that we should not profane His priestly sacrifice by presenting our selves at His altar to receive the precious gift of His body and Blood while we are in a state of mortal sin. This should be enough to get parishioners to realize that confession is a necessary part of communion. It seems, though, that these themes have been neglected, especially since we are so conditioned to think of ourselves as citizens and not as subjects.

            Now that I have thought this through, I posit that the decline in confessions is as a result of the desacralization of communion and the uncrowning of Chirst as king. Altering one aspect of the liturgy has gravely affected the sacramental life of the Church, namely, parishioners seeking the healing balm of our Divine Physician in the sacrament of confession. Our fault as a Church is not in our theology, but in being out of fashion.

          • Kevin Tierney

            And I myself am a revert to the faith, and someone who goes to confession roughly three times a month. So really, this isn’t a matter of one of us lowballing the sacrament and one raising it up.
            I think the desacralizing of everything (not just Christ the King, which I wrote about when discussing baptism) plays a part, but our problem goes a lot deeper than that, but instead we misunderstand repentance, forgivness, penance, venial/mortal sins. Take away all these things, and you get empty confession lines. That and people understand confession solely in the fact of a “sorry I screwed up” rather than the traditional understanding of the healing nature of the confessional where St. Ambrose says “I come to heal, not accuse.” While this teaching is covered by papal teachings (John Paul II wrote an apostolic exhortation around this very aspect of confession) for the most part it still isn’t permeating down to the local Catholics. Even my generation, which offers so much hope for other things (traditional liturgy, pro-life activism, a proper understanding of sexuality), it is a pretty grim outlook among the young who tend to frequent confession the least.
            I’m not saying what you are proposing has nothing to do with it. Just that there is more to the story.

          • ColdStanding

            Okay, I can be happy with that. It occurred to me after that the fourth major way that Christ in our Church needs to be contemplated as is as Physician of Souls, which is what you have alluded to in your quote from St. Ambrose.

          • Julia

            I believe the devotion to Divine Mercy has the whole truth about the reality of the pardon we receive through going to confession.
            Some years ago, I had a discussion with a parish priest who did not believe we needed regular confession. He told me once a year was enough. I asked him how his friends would feel, if he upset them and said, well wait till Christmas or Easter and I will say sorry if I hurt your feelings.
            I said such an attitude comes across to me as pure arrogance, and if we would not have any friends left if we treated them like that, why do we think it is ok to treat God like that.
            I think my simple approach affected him deeply. Just a thought.
            What if all priests asked parishioners to take this approach to their relationship with God.

          • Kevin Tierney

            Julia,
            That might be the best way to put it I’ve heard out of those who take that approach you mentioned. Bravo!

          • Yes! Healing, not accusation/condemnation. Not because healing is an “easy way out,” but because it’s the whole point. “Feeling bad” is not the end, it’s the means to the end, which is healing, and healing should leave us feeling hopeful and restored, ready to get back in the fight.

          • Brother “Cold Standing”. Please consider consecrating yourself to Mary. She will bring great joy and replace the “hard work / unpleasant work”. All work is good, when done for Jesus.

          • ColdStanding

            I’m reading through St. Louis de Montfort’s series of meditations on the Holy Rosary right now. Consecration, God willing, is on the radar for the near future.

            Thank you for caring enough about my soul to suggest it.

          • Kevin M. Tierney

            His Total Consecration is a pretty incredible meditation, and something we certainly need more of.

      • mally el

        This is not about making religion easier or more difficult but about creating a good and proper climate for reconciliation. There are instances in the Bible when Jesus said “Go. your sins are forgiven” and Go and sin no more”. Making a list is easier than making the commitment to ‘sin no more’. This is generated by the questions I selected and, importantly, the responses of the person seeking reconciliation. For instance, in answer to the first question I would say, “Yes, I have examined my conscience and I am truly sorry for my sins.” (Like the Prodigal Son). And this is what a proper reconciliation with our Lord is all about.

        In our list we mention our sins of commission but how often do we consider the sins of omission in dealing with our neighbour, strangers and our world.
        This is why this sacrament should create in one’s souls a sense of sorrow for our sinfulness, a commitment to sin no more and the grace to grow strong in this renewed union with Jesus.

        • ColdStanding

          You are proposing reducing confession to a half measure. Don’t mess with confession.

          • mally el

            I am trying to take it away from a half measure.

          • mally el

            Coldstanding, I do agree with a lot of what you said. I have been doing just that for 65 years (that’s from the time of my First Holy Communion). However, I do feel that by emphasizing the ‘confession’ aspect we are depriving ourselves of a beautiful and very meaningful sacramental experience.
            We are reconciled to God in Baptism when we, the descendants of Adam, are born again into fellowship with Jesus – the heavenly Adam. This fellowship is then strengthened and empowered at Confirmation. These are once in a lifetime events.
            Holy Communion and Reconciliation are the two sacraments that are available to us over and over again. “Do this in memory of me” Jesus said about Communion. These sacramental experiences help us to renew or to maintain our fellowship with Jesus. We will never be sinless; we will never know how many times and in how many ways we have fallen. However, one sin is as damaging to the relationship as many. We need to constantly examine our conscience – as Daniel pointed out – and to feel sorry for our failings and when we admit this at “confession’ we also seek sanctifying grace to maintain and to strengthen our union with Jesus. Jesus does not want our sins, he wants our repentance and desire for fellowship with him.

          • Exactly, Mally! That’s why I prefer the term “reconciliation.” Because that’s what it IS (or is supposed to be). Confession is only part of it. Reconciliation includes not just what WE do, but what GOD does, and the resulting wholeness and restoration.

      • I hope you’re not a priest, “Cold.” (The name seems to fit, by the way.)

        • ColdStanding

          As well you should. I’d be a holy #$%^% as a priest. The Irish Reds of old would have nothing on me, and all because it would be a Cold Day in Hell before I’d let my parishioners go around with 1/2 truths in their heads. Enjoy your Catholicism Lite. I need the cold, hard truth of my personal wretchedness placed front and center, least I entertain any foolish notions of personal righteousness or, even worse, that I’d done enough to merit being saved.

          No. The devil prowls about like a hungry lion and I’m on the menu. Heck! The devil has my foot in his maw and it is only Jesus’s mercy that keeps me from being swallowed. There is only combat against sin or death and utter destruction. So, you might as well fight. Jesus is your sword and armor. Peace comes in heaven. We are in the Church Militant.

  • Daniel Meola

    I think we also need to practice the habit of a daily examination of conscience in order to appreciate confession. It’s like what Eucharistic adoration is to the Mass, it makes us realize the profound need of the Sacrament and the mystery contained therein. Moreover, it makes us desire to receive it frequently.

    • Kevin Tierney

      Hello Daniel,
      Yes frequent examination of conscience is a very important thing. I think far too often people only take it to mean examining our sins though. I think that’s unfortunate. By all means lets do that, but also make sure to examine your conscience to see what virtues you are pracitcing, which ones you need to do a bit more of, what you do best, what you do worst, etc.
      If nothing else, it’s a great way to keep one humble, no matter how good they might initially think they are. 🙂
      Blessings,
      Kevin

  • I think this is true. It would explain why I dread confession so much, why I never feel any better afterward; I only feel temporary relief that it’s over — until next time. But I’m still not sure how to do better. I think for me it may always be like a visit to the principal’s office to review my failures. And which is worse: the same failures, over and over, or having them replaced with new ones?

    • Kevin Tierney

      I would honestly suggest talking to a priest who you regular confess to first and foremost. For me, I would say confession means we are forgiven, and that we have been given the grace to better our lives. Yet what we do with that is up to us. That’s where the hard work comes in.
      St. John of the Cross used to remind people he directed not to get too discouraged when they sinned, sometimes even grievously. Rather they should realize this was human nature, and that we are doing our best to overcome human nature, and that’s why we have the sacraments. So I wouldn’t say which one is “worse” or “better”, because I submit that’s not the way we should be looking at it.

  • Laura S

    Also many parishes are still offering the sacrament of reconciliation Saturday afternoons only. This may have worked in 1955 but when mom and dad both work Saturday afternoon is not convenient. If priests would hear confessions before and after Sunday Mass they would see an increase in penitents.

    • Patrick

      This is very true. The problem is not laity wanting confession, it is priests who refuse to offer it. Pope Francis will hopefully address this negligence with the bishops. Most parishes of 4 to 5 thousand parishoners have confession for 30 minutes a week where I live. This is enough for about 6 of 7 confessions so people think why bother.

      • Josko

        That’s 6 or 7 fast confessions

        • Kevin M. Tierney

          Grace is given nonetheless, but in many parishes, confession tends to happen very quick, with little or no spiritual guidance at all. Many times because you have the artifical 30 minute “deadline.” In those circumstances, you can understand why you want to do it as quickly as possible.

          They should probably increase time to at least an hour in most places. The quality of confessions and of advice given I think would improve.

  • Greyghost

    Since Vatican II there seems to be a perception among key Catholic leaders that the Gate to Heaven is “wide” not “narrow” as Jesus claimed. Once we did away with the idea that it is only through the Catholic Church that you can obtain salvation, well, believing in anything firmly is sufficient to get a soul to Heaven. Who, frankly, needs confession when most are already saved?

    Think about it, we saw the Protestant Reformation, now we are in the Catholic Reformation.

    As for me, well, I am not a big advocate of Rahner etc., so I am going to Confession, attending Mass, praying the Rosary and doing penance for my sins. Modern tendencies since Vat II clearly are too risky to my soul if the progressive wing of Catholicism somehow got it wrong. Eternity is a long time.

    • Kevin Tierney

      I REALLY don’t like treating this as a Vatican II/Post Vatican II thing. Maybe part of that is my generation really isn’t as impacted in this. We stay trad even with the Council.
      Another reason is that the Sacrament of Confession has been emphasized pretty strongly by all the popes since Vatican II, and they cited the teaching of the Second Vatican Council as to why they are doing it. Sometimes the Vatican II/Pre Vatican II distinction is useful. This isn’t one of them.

  • greyghost

    Another extremely important idea is to return to the old departmentalized confessional where the Priest is separate from the person confessing (no choice, unless “face to face” by appointment). The reason is simple, but compelling. Since the priestly sexual abuse horror of the recent past (and, I am sorry to report, present – see Ireland), some people have fear of the potential sexual perversion of the Priest. Justified or not is besides the point here, what is the issue is making a safe environment for people, including young boys and girls, to go to confession.

    Think about it, if the Church is really serious in fighting predator sexual abuse, they need to start in the confessional. They can do this by making it fool proof safe, restoring the concept of Persona Christi and finally, by clearly defining why Confession is one of the key tools needed to obtain eternal salvation. Having mothers wondering if it is safe for their child to enter the Confessional is not helping this cause. The Church should be welcoming, safe and encouraging for people to participate in this Sacrament.

    Clearly circumstances have radically changed since the opening the confessional booth. The new environment requires partitioning the confessional so there is no potential contact between participants. Doing this is critical. It protects both parties equally in the “box”.

    The Church needs to get on this.

    • Kevin Tierney

      For various reasons, confessionals, real confessionals need to return. They served a lot of practical purpose, they protected those seeking confession, and they gave some good theological insight.

    • Josko

      Did you vote for Obama ?

  • cac310

    (JMJ) AS MOTHER ANGELICA HAS ALWAYS SAID HOW LONG DO YOU WAIT TO TAKE A BATH/SHOWER BEFORE YOU STINK—-CONFESSIONAL IS THAT WARM BATH THAT CLEANSES THE SOUL MAKING IT A WORTHY DWELLING PLACE FOR JESUS & MARY TO COME INTO!?!?! COULD THE REASON ALSO BE THAT IN MANY CHURCHES THAT WAS THE FIRST THING TO BE RIPPED OUT OF THE CHURCHES ‘THE CONFESSIONALS’ BECAUSE SIN DIDN’T EXIST ANYMORE ACCORDING TO VATICAN II*****AND WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE ANN LANDER/SELF HELP SERMONS WE ARE FED INSTEAD OF PROPER CATECHESIS*******!?!?!?!??!

  • Kevin

    All those souls would end up in Heaven because of Y/OUR efforts ?

    I think Fr you have a serious issue right there. We’re not the only ones in need of repenting and conversion it seems.

    Another Kevin 🙂

  • Dan

    I thank God I live near St. Therese of Lisieux Parish in Alhambra, California. The Carmelite priests there are awesome. Confession is twice a week for 1 1/2 hours and they often go longer because of the long lines.

  • Kevin Tierney

    Just a quick thanks to everyone.
    Great combox discussion here. Be like this with tomorrow’s column!

  • Victor John

    Ever since I was a young lad in the fifties I went to frequent confession. Although I was always sorry for my sins, I went more out of fear of going to hell then of offending Our Lord. It wasn’t until after Vatican II that I came to know the Lord personally and I started to confess my sins with a different contrite heart. One out of having offended my Lord. The difference is everything. I no longer wanted to sin because of my love for my God. My confessions have become almost like an encounter with the living Christ each time I confess. Tears flow easily and the grace and peace that follow make it such a pleasant experience. It is easy to say we love God but do we really? We need move teachings on the personal encounter in the sacraments.

    • So true,John Paul 2 went sometimes twice a weekbut then he was so humble’

    • You own the wisdom of the Church. I wish Our Lady to bring you to her wanting arms on your last day.

    • PaterNoster7.Eddie.Howell.NJ

      Amen Victor – I try and go every week – it is a great experience. The desire to love and serve the Lord and not to offend Him drives the desire to avoid sin and to take advantage of the Sacraments.

  • jer

    i wish it was more available – I also wish mass was more available.

    • Kevin Tierney

      Well see what you can do about it. Get a group of people together, go see Father, and ask for more confession times. He says no, go look for another priest at the church down the road. Show that several people will show up, they will do it. Come armed with Pope Francis’ latest exhortation to “leave the light on.” Make events out of going to confession. Again, sounds silly, but i think it could work.

  • Danielck

    A crisis? Really? Is it a crisis for those who go to confession once every two or 4 weeks? And is a crisis defined by a priest not being able to hear all confessions at a given time because the line of penitents does not seem to end? I think it is time to stop focusing on the negative, and to start focusing on the positive. Maybe then confession would not be viewed by some negatively.

    • Kevin M. Tierney

      Danielck,

      Actually I point out that part of the reason there is a crisis in regards to confession is because far too often it is simply looked at in a negative light.

      Yet the numbers are pretty universal that there is a crisis in regards to confession. Pope Francis spoke about it recently, and the studies show that confession is viewed as unimportant amongst most Catholics, with 75% not even going once a year.

      Being positive is good and required. Yet we also have to acknowledge reality. The majority of Catholics do not go to confession once a month or more. Heck, if even 33% of Catholics, even orthodox ones were going to confession that frequently it would be a cause for celebration. See the previous article in the series “The Crisis of the Confessional” to get an idea of some of those numbers. They aren’t pretty

  • Victor John

    Having the responsibility to organize the Three o’clock Sunday Divine Mercy hour, , I asked a visiting priest if he would hear confessions as our priest was out of town. He was agreeable I also suggested that perhaps we could put up a screen to encourage people who haven’t been to confession in awhile to go as our confessional didn’t have one It would give them the option of kneeling behind the screen or sitting facing the priest. He like the idea so a few of us hurried and did this for the next day. The Ceremony lasted 1 1/2 hrs and he heard confessions during the whole time. One lady whispered to me it was her first confession in thirty five years. Another man hadn’t been since he was a child. A few days later I asked the priest if anyone had used the screen. He then shared how most of the people had used the screen. Praise God!

  • woody

    when my wife went through RCIA 10 yrs ago they didn’t discuss the sacraments and NOBODY went to confession before their first Communion. I sat in on her classes. Horrible, politically incorrect catechesis. The “facilitator” was always asking, what if God were a woman? Useless teaching. Homilies are watered down talks about how we need to be nice and love everyone. wow. that will change the world….

  • Paternoster7.Eddie.from.Howell

    Laura S. makes a
    great point. Our new Pastor at St. Veronica’s in Howell NJ has instituted
    confessions for one half hour before every Mass on Sunday and the usual 4 P.M.
    Confessions on Saturday. There has been an very large increase of people taking
    advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We are so blessed to have a
    Pastor who loves the Lord in the Eucharist and is so aware of the importance of
    the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I hope that many more parishes take advantage
    of this. I am also very blessed to be able to assist at daily Mass at Our Lady
    of Victory on Pine and William’s streets in the Wall Street area of NYC. There
    are confessions available every weekday for 3 hours. Thanks be to God for our
    Holy Roman Catholic Church and our wonderful Holy Priests. Thank you to all our
    priests. All too often they never hear Thank you Father. So to all of you
    priests out there…thank you Father.

  • Fr. Ken Geraci

    IMHO … there is a crisis because the Priest themselves do not make use the sacrament. If the priest believes in the sacrament, then the people will.

  • texasjo

    Nothing like having your picture put up with confession secrets…I’m not going to church now, because according to their made up rules I would have to go to confession. I just confess straight to God, but he knows it anyway. Rather, to Jesus, as he’s closer, as a fellow human being…God, is too awesome. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is my favorite. Since they say you should go to confession before communion, I guess they have put me out of the church with their rules. BTW, I don’t agree with the person who said go to the same priest. Get a spiritual advisor. One reason I do not want to go to confession is when I was an innocent child, I told the priest something, and he said I was on the path to Hell…I told another priest about breaking several, if not all commandments and did not get a lecture, and less penance. Did you know I was told skipping your morning prayers was a sin? Heck, I didn’t even know what morning prayers were. And, so many marriages are getting excused. Plus there are priests in South American countries who have babies and are true to one woman. Actually, it is only natural. We need some changes.